740.00119 EW/3–749: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas) to the Secretary of State

us urgent

820. Personal for Acheson. Deptel 7351 received here morning of 6th, delay due to servicing.

[Page 560]

Called on Bevin this morning. Explained to him your personal great concern about position British were presently taking and, as I had on other occasions, pointed out serious risks implicit in view which French and British take.
Urged on Bevin that we get at problem immediately of settling Humphrey Committee’s recommendations as separate issue, subject, however, to serious commitment in regard to prompt commencement, on governmental level, of negotiations on question of prohibited and limited industries soon after settlement of problem of plant retention and dismantling.
Bevin replied that this would be very difficult; in fact, he wondered whether it would not be better for UK to take risk of some restrictive legislation or some limited provision in an appropriation act. He wondered whether he should not even take risk of a reduction in amount of appropriation for European recovery. Reasons for his taking this position are, as previously reported:
He is very fearful that once question of retention and dismantling was disposed of, we would, in negotiations on prohibited and restricted industries, use same methods—that is to say, threaten to reduce appropriation for European recovery, threaten to enact restrictive legislation, et cetera,—to influence British to accept our views.
If problems were dealt with seriatim, French Government would have very serious problem on its hands (according to Bevin).
If problems were dealt with separately, report to House of Commons that an agreement had been reached on retention and dismantling of plants would give rise to serious internal political difficulties, particularly with shipbuilding industry on Clyde and their body of representatives and associates in House of Commons.
Notwithstanding above, Bevin agreed to reconsider matter. I hope to have answer either late tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday. He must go to Cabinet.

Sent Department, repeated Paris 146.

  1. Supra.